'The Funniest Joke in the World' is a famous extended sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus
, concerning a lethal joke which supposedly caused havoc during WW2. The joke itself is "Wenn ist das Nunstrück git und Slotermeyer? Ja
! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!". The sketch was at the end of 'Wither Canada?', the second episode of the first series, broadcast in October 1969.
'Monty Python - The First 200 Years' reveals that it's a mixture of genuine German and gibberish, but not what it actually means. My rusty knowledge of German and Babelfish later, I can state with wobbling uncertainty that one possible English translation might be:
"If is the now-struck git and slotmaster? Yes! Behind-dog it or the flipper-forest kaput!"
(Inebriated Poet kindly points out that 'Oder', capitalised as in the first writeup, is a river in Germany (in which case the above translation would go '...dog it Oder the flipper-forest..' which, as I'm sure you will appreciate, gives the joke a new and sinister slant)
Which appears to be something to do with pinball. According to a native German speaker in the alt.monty-python faq a more strictly accurate translation would be:
If is the now-piece (git) and (Slotermeyer)? Yes! (Beiher)dog that or the pinball wood (gersput)!
I hope that makes more sense.